I’m naturally a bubbly person. One of my nicknames in college was the toesocks fairy.
But I’ve been recovering from what my friends and I called emotional hypothermia, slowly warming up to my own emotions, both positive and negative ones. I wondered how much of my optimism was forced.
Not all of it was.
This past summer, my friend Shelby said she felt she’d become too negative lately. She’s a sociology grad student and she majored in women’s and ethnic studies in undergrad, so she studies disturbing things.
She started giving out stat bonuses to almost everyone she met all summer. Coworkers, family, her boyfriend. I got several:
I have another friend, Shade, who also awards points. Shade gave me +50 points when I found out I’d been blocked from Facebook pages for a couple of conservative leaders in the homeschool movement, Michael Farris and Chris Jeub. Shade later said I get +1,000 for self care. ^_^
It’s a small thing, but I smile when I get stat bonuses. They remind me that I can accomplish bigger goals, too.
This is also why Ducky and I started the Jar of Self Confidence for each other and our other roommates when we lived together.
Both of us apologized as easily as breathing. Sometimes we apologized for breathing. We lived this poem: “I know girls… / who apologize for everything / because they feel like they are taking / up more than their fair share of space / on this planet.”
We wanted to heal, to grow into our own skin.
So each time one of us apologized unnecessarily, we had to pay 25 cents to the jar. Sometimes when we didn’t have change, we left paper IOUs inside. Then later the spare change could be used for treats like ice cream or movie tickets, celebrating our newfound confidence.
All these little things that keep me smiling are part of self-care. We’re all learning how to be gentle with ourselves.